“And of the sons of Elam; Mattaniah, Zechariah, and Jehiel, and Abdi, and Jeremoth, and Eliah.” (Ezra 10:26 KJV).
This verse is buried twenty-six lines deep in the midst of a long list of laborious names. Very few people would even bother reading it. I guess I'm one of those few. You can see that seven names are listed; a father and his six sons. However, nothing is said about them -- who they were, what they did, how their lives mattered. Nothing; nada; zippo; not a word -- just their names.
But names are important. A name defines you, and a good name is to be desired above great riches.
So I did a curious thing with this verse of scripture. Using the Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary, the Easton Bible Dictionary, and the Hitchcock Bible Names Dictionary, I looked up the meaning of each of these names and what I uncovered is worthy of your consideration.
Elam -- a secret hidden by distance in the highlands
Mattaniah -- the gift of hope from the Lord; the hope laid up in heaven
Zechariah -- The renowned Lord has remembered
Jehiel -- God's life will be seen in me
Abdi -- serviceable, servant of the Lord
Jeremoth -- elevations; uplifted beyond the fear of death
Eliah -- The Mighty God, the Lord who works in wonder and power
Putting the meaning of these several names together in one continuous thought produced the following treasure:
“There was a secret hidden in the heavens, far away from the sight of man. It was a gift of hope, laid up in heaven for us by the Lord. At the perfect moment, in the fullness of time, the Lord remembered the gift and brought it forth for us to have and to behold. Because of this His name is now renowned throughout the whole earth. His life has now been made manifest in and through us, making us useful unto every good word and work, and lifting us far above the power of sin and death. He is the mighty God, who works wonders of love by His great power.”
Next time your whizzing through the Bible on your way to a place called Hurry Up and Get Here -- take a break. Slow down and read with an inquisitive mind, a curious soul, and an investigative hunger. You might just stumble upon a buried treasure or two.